The iPhone 5 gives journalists a new toolbox for mobile reporting.
In a post on the BBC College of Journalism blog, smartphone reporter Marc Settle discusses the pros and cons of the new iPhone operating system, iOS 6 (which comes pre-installed on the iPhone 5 and can also be downloaded on the 3GS, 4 and 4S). Here are five changes from the previous software that Settle says may be of interest to journalists:
Source-friendly alert filter
A "Do Not Disturb" function is offered by iOS 6. It disables all calls and alerts while the phone remains on. The part that could come in handy for journalists, Settle says, is that certain numbers--like those belonging to important sources--can be excluded from the function so their calls still get through. In addition, "several phone calls from the same number in a three-minute period will override DND's settings," he says.
The iOS 6 is equipped with a higher level of privacy that journalists in hostile environments may find useful. "Similar to DND is a new ‘Privacy’ option which lets you quickly see which app is requesting what information and disable it if and when required," Settle writes.
A map "make-under"
Unlike previous versions that used Google Maps, iOS 6 uses an Apple mapping system modeled after TomTom navigation. New features include spoken directions, 3D imaging and traffic updates. But Google Street View is no longer available. That's a loss, since it allowed users to share ground-level views with news crews before their arrival on the scene. Losing Google Maps "means the loss of a function I thought useful for journalists," Settle says.
Broader photo-and video-sharing
Photostream in iOS 5 made the 1,000 most recent photos accessible on any iOS-equipped device. In iOS 6, these photos can be shared with third parties. This is useful in the news business, Settle says, because "it’ll now be possible for a journalist to upload a photo and get it to their newsroom colleagues almost instantly, even avoiding the need for it to be emailed."
Limited Facebook integration
In iOS 6, users can take content directly from most apps and post it to their Facebook pages. However, this function is only useful for personal Facebook accounts. Journalists "can't post directly from within their iPhone to, say, their newspaper’s Facebook page, only to their personal page," Settle says.
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Photo CC-licensed, courtesy of Anton Porsche on Flickr.